Almost 60 organizations deemed “hate groups” by the Southern Poverty Law Center are fed up and plan to take legal action.
A Christian legal nonprofit leader told PJ Media on Tuesday that a $3 million settlement is being suggested. The move comes following news on Monday the SPLC apologized to Maajid Nawaz and his Quilliam Foundation, which seemingly inspiring a huge swath of other groups who feel they’ve been wrongly slandered by the behemoth “non-profit” to seek retribution.
“We haven’t filed anything against the SPLC, but I think a number of organizations have been considering filing lawsuits against the SPLC, because they have been doing to a lot of organizations exactly what they did to Maajid Nawaz,” Mat Staver,founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, said on Tuesday to PJ Media.
GuideStar, an organization that helps users navigate charities, is being sued by Liberty Counsel after using the SPLC’s “hate group” list as a reference to their clients. The lawsuit is currently ongoing.
The SPLC posted its “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists,” in 2016. Among the people named was reformer and practicing Muslim Maajid Nawaz, who they called an extremist. The far left group has an ever-changing list of reasons to include him; some were as petty as attending a strip club at his bachelor party.
On Monday SPLC President Richard Cohen, expressed his witch-hunting group’s “sincerest apologies to Mr. Nawaz, Quilliam, and our readers for the error, and we wish Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam all the best.” The suit was settled to the tune of $3.375 million paid to Nawaz’s organization.
“This is a significant settlement,” Staver illustrated, “3.375 million dollars, and it did not even go to litigation; it was a result of a demand letter.”
Most interestingly, “the allegations that were at issue here were very similar to the allegations against the other groups,” the Liberty Counsel chairman explained. “The SPLC promotes false propaganda, demonizes and labels groups they disagree with, and that labeling has economic as well as physical consequences.”
The SPLC was first formed to fight back against racist terrorism, and some of its first action was against the Ku Klux Klan. More recently, racial terror groups have been in short supply, causing the SPLC to throw in benign organizations who happen to disagree with leftist propaganda as “hate groups” of the same caliber as the KKK.
The SPLC has a $300 million endowment, with a reported $90 million in secret, off-shore accounts and receives donations from powerful, billion-dollar companies like Apple and JPMorgan Chase. This year it was reported Google’s YouTube deploys the SPLC to censor “hateful” content on its platform.
In the last year alone 47 separate nonprofit organizations called out the SPLC for their frivolous “hate list” in an open letter to the media. The SPLC was forced to confess their “hate group” list in base on their “opinion” and nothing more.
Many organizations on the “hate list” are now “considering their options” regarding a day in court to clear their names and end the myth that the SPLC has any authority to speak on the topic of hate. Some of the groups considering taking the plunge are Family Research Council (FRC), the Ruth Institute, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Proud Boys, and Prager University.
Staver believes the settlement awarded to Nawaz “will encourage further legal action.” He hinted that the settlement ”helps our lawsuit against GuideStar” and might make other organizations considering suing the SPLC take the final jump.
“There are probably about 60 organizations that we’re talking to — there’s at least 60,” Staver said. He mentioned the group of 47 nonprofit leaders who denounced the SPLC last year, and said “that group has grown since then.”
Senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Jeremy Tedesco, said his organization is “evaluating all our options,” when it comes to taking the SPLC to court.
“SPLC’s partisan tactics and slander have ruinous, real-world consequences for which they should not be excused; we are evaluating all our options to defend the good name of ADF, including possible legal action,” Tedesco affirmed.
“It’s appalling and offensive for the Southern Poverty Law Center to compare peaceful organizations which condemn violence and racism with violent and racist groups just because it disagrees with their views,” Tedesco said to PJ Media. “That’s what SPLC did in the case of Quilliam and its founder Maajid Nawaz, and that’s what it has done with ADF and numerous other organizations and individuals.”
Staver explained that the SPLC chooses groups to label “in order to destroy them,” and noted that choice of words comes from the SPLC directly. The chairman of the Liberty Counsel also credited the hyper-leftist SPLC’s “hate map” as the catalyst for terror attacks.
The Family Research Council was broken into in 2012 by Floyd Lee Corkins III with the intention to murder everyone inside. He later confessed the FRC was his target because it was listed by the SPLC as an “anti-gay group” on their “hate map.” Unfortunately that wasn’t the last time the SPLC was connected with a terror attack.
“Even the shooter last year in D.C. was a Facebook fan of the SPLC and the SPLC ran a false article saying [House Majority Whip] Steve Scaliese was a white supremacist,” Staver pointed out in a statement. Nawaz even demonstrated the connection between the SPLC and James Hodgkinson, the shooter in Virginia that targeted Congressional Baseball Game last summer, leaving Steve Scaliese shot.
“There are people out there that are unhinged. They go out and take action. They assume that somebody hates them,” the Liberty Counsel chairman described. Due to these irrational reactionaries, “You have to be careful with your language. We can disagree but we can’t demonize one another. Certainly, do not do anything that would put somebody that you disagree with in physical danger.”
“The groups that we’re talking to, that have approached us, all of them oppose violence,” Staver noted. “None of them advocate violence. They don’t agree with the SPLC on certain issues, but they oppose violence. They have no reason to hate anyone.”
Not all cases will involve a devout Muslim grotesquely mischaracterized as an “anti-Muslim extremist,” however for the 60 organizations potentially suing the SPLC there is now a legal precedent that arbitrarily labeling “hate groups” for not liking their politics might have serious legal consequences.
feature image: Richard Cohen/YouTube